Brachioplasty, commonly referred to as an ‘arm lift,’ is a cosmetic procedure where fatty tissue and excess skin is removed from the upper arm.

With ageing, weight fluctuations and gravity, arm tissue relaxes and descends, causing excess sagging of the skin. The upper arms are most susceptible to this, as women have less supporting muscle tone and tend to store excess fat in this area. Patients who have sustained considerable weight loss often experience sagging skin on their upper arms, which is unresponsive to exercise or diet. Some patients experience embarrassment as a result of this, which can also undermine the sense of achievement gained from weight loss.

When the anchoring fascial system is stretched and supporting fat is lost, the result is a drooping of skin. The so called “bat wing” or “loose hammock” phrases refer to this excess, sagging skin, which extends from the axilla to the elbow. When this occurs and the skin has poor elasticity, brachioplasty is favored in comparison to conventional liposculpture.

Arm Lift Surgery

Brachioplasty surgery is normally performed under general anaesthesia. The surgery involves an incision along the lower underside of the upper arm. The surgery will leave a thin scar, which although permanent will fade over time. The brachioplasty procedure is modified depending on the degree of extra skin and how loose the supporting tissue has become. The surgeon will carefully remove excess skin and tissue, working to reduce the circumference of the upper arm and reveal its natural contour. The incision can be extended into the axilla in the case of loose skin along the lateral chest.  Depending on the unique needs of the patient, liposuction may be used during the brachioplasty procedure to accentuate results.

Associated Risks

Scarring is a concern of the brachioplasty procedure. Scrupulous surgical technique and proper after care can limit the degree of scarring. Other possible complications include prolonged swelling, bruising, infection, and bleeding. If nerves are injured this may result in numbness and change in feeling.

Brachioplasty is not suitable for patients who have undergone a mastectomy or an operation in the axilla lymph nodes. Patients with multiple sweat gland infections may not be good candidates for brachioplasty as drainage of the arm may be impaired, and additional surgery could lead to permanent arm swelling.

After Brachioplasty Surgery Care

Post brachioplasty, recovery takes one to two weeks. Each patient’s recovery is different, but swelling tends to peak at 2 to 3 days and is usually mild to moderate. Additionally, bruising and swelling normally lasts 1 to 2 weeks. Patients are generally able to return to work within a week, and recommence exercise within 2 weeks (with the exception of contact sports and strenuous workouts, which are better resumed after about four weeks).

To minimise swelling, a garment with elastic support is worn following brachioplasty. The incision also needs to be protected to allow it to heal with minimal scarring, so limiting lifting is advisable. During the recovery phase, elevation using pillows will increase patient comfort. Scars will heal over time and it generally takes 6 months or more to see how they will evolve.


Following brachioplasty, patients can benefit from better contour of the arm, often resulting in greater comfort in clothing as well as improved confidence and self-image.

To learn more and discover if brachioplasty (arm lift) is the best choice for you, contact the team at Timeless Cosmetics today and schedule your consultation with experienced Perth based surgeon, Dr. Padovan.